Waiting in the wings: Moffat County JV volleyball players eager to carry on at next level
A hard-hitting conference lineup made for tough going for the Moffat County High School volleyball program, but plenty of promise at the younger levels for Bulldogs shows the future is bright.
MCHS girls wrapped the season Saturday in Aspen as varsity posted a 5-15 record with a 3-0 loss to the Skiers.
In their final sets of the fall, Lady Bulldogs had a slow start with 25-10 and 25-8 defeats before nearly coming back in the third round, making it to 25-19.
The kill count was 17 in the match, led by Tiffany Hildebrandt with six, four for Jenna Timmer and two apiece for Jaidyn Steele and Olivia Profumo. The Lady Dogs put up six total blocks among Hildy, Steele, Timmer, Bailey Lawton and Ebawnee Smercina.
MoCo had an 84 percent service success rate but only managed two aces against the receptive Aspen. In setting, Ebawnee Smercina provided 14 assists, and libero Terry Gillett had 11 of the team’s 27 digs.
The win put the 17-6 Skiers at third in the final 3A Western Slope League rankings, with Aspen joining Cedaredge, Delta and conference champion Coal Ridge at the regional level this weekend, seeded 19th, 11th, 30th and 21st in the playoffs, respectively.
While the Aspen games were a rough finish for MCHS varsity — placing ninth overall in the WSL — 25-15 and 25-11 wins over the Skiers for JV put the younger group at 13-3 this season. Combined with C-Team’s 8-7 year, MCHS volleyball was 26-25 as a whole, just over .500.
With a mix of players who play solely JV and some who suit up for varsity as well, the members of the junior team have been a well-coordinated bunch under guidance by Shalyn Steffan, said head coach Jessica Profumo.
Steffan’s coaching has helped athletes keep reaching for greatness, said Caylah Million.
“She pushes us hitters to do our best so that when we play in the game it’s the highest level,” she said.
A sizable amount of freshmen fill important roles on the JV squad, spots which they first carved out at Craig Middle School.
“It really doesn’t feel any different, since we play with a lot of the same people,” Reese Weber said.
For the freshmen who have played numerous varsity games — including Taytum Smercina, Abbe Adams and Olivia Profumo — the level of competition for JV matches is sometimes even greater.
“Most days it depends just because JV can get really intense and really close,” Olivia said. “You want to keep it up.”
An early season game in Steamboat is one JV girls concur was one of their best despite barely falling 2-1 to the Sailors.
“Even though we lost, that was so good. We worked really hard,” said Kenzie Rehor, who functioned as the leading libero for JV as well as the backup for varsity in the position.
Apart from a few varsity suit-ups last season, Darbi Zimmerman has mostly played JV and takes a great amount of pride in it.
“Playing my freshman year to sophomore up to now, we’ve come so far, and this year we had no drama,” Zimmerman said. “Everybody has clicked.”
Zimmerman also provided a credo for the team that they’ve taken to heart: “You can either feel like you earned a win or feel like you got handed it.”
JV girls all agreed they’ll keep working for the former.
Moffat County High School fall sports are fully underway, with most Bulldog teams hitting their first competitions within the next week.